Team chat guidelines

Here are a few things we can do to help reduce the noise and keep focus.

  1. Mute channels you don’t need to be part of but don’t want to have slip your mind. People can always @ mention you if they need your input on something. If you find yourself not going back there for a while, leave the channel! No shame. People can still @ you to bring you back for relevant conversations. This is also going to help your catching up on slack after being away, obv (but see #7).
  2. Star channels to bring the ones you most want to focus on to the top of your interface. It makes it simple to see when important (to you) channels have unread messages without any scroll interaction. I also star each of the team members DMs so that they are in the upper list for me.
  3. Set yourself to Do Not Disturb when you need to focus for 20m, an hour, or an afternoon. Simply type /dnd to set yourself to do not disturb. This is different than workhours in that you can use it to disable notifications from Slack. I also encourage you to mention in workhours that you are going to focus for a while.
  4. Proactively turn conversations into Threads when it makes sense. Now that we’ve started doing that I’m hooked, it is reducing a lot of noise already.
  5. Outside of #workhours, stick to the ‘nohello’ rule and all natural extensions of it in channels. I’m guilty of still doing it, but every time I do I know a baby penguin gets eaten by a shark. Same goes for DMs and nohello.
  6. Do Not @ Tag people in channels when they are not working (roughly per workhours, obv lunch breaks etc it might still be reasonable). Slack is best for sync communication, it shouldn’t be a place to leave people todos or tasks. If a conversation is critical for them to be part of, put it in (a) a Ticket; (b) a Thread where you do tag them so they see the side thread when they return.  Alternatively a DM can work, but only during the recipient’s work hours. Also, do not expect people to absorb every conversation in Slack if they weren’t one of the members conversing. Capture outcomes in living documents, tickets, epics, docs and perhaps soon a tool like Discourse.
  7. Do not spend your time in the mornings catching up on every message you missed in every channel you are part of. See #6. On Mac, one easy way to deal with this is. Click into a Channel where you have 732 unread messages, click ESC. That marks them all read and you can continue. Things you should pay attention to: Threads you were proactively added to; Channels you are responsible for; DMs; and maybe a couple of channels where generally important conversations happen (e.g. General).
  8. Be proactive in moving strategic / planning conversations out of the channels where Github / CI are integrated, as more people would willingly mute those integration channels for projects they aren’t part of.
  9. Slack conversations that should be Github tickets. I’m guilty of this one a lot too but let’s go to tickets faster, and then close tickets faster if too if we feel they get too many wont fixes.
  10. Don’t slip on using the time-off calendar. It’s the office equivalent of swiveling your chair around and remembering that so-and-so had mentioned last week they wouldn’t be around today. When you are on vacation or running to an appointment, you aren’t going to remember to pop into workhours and remind people. Try to use time-off for anything that is going to be 1/2 day or more away, simply mark it so we get the notification
Great! You've successfully subscribed.
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.